At Dummies.com you can learn how to “refresh a computer system.” It is hardly a super-specialized IT job.
“Refreshing computer systems” for the Navy Marine Corps’ Intranet network was the job description of the Washington Navy Yard killer, Aaron Alexis. Alexis, who gunned down 12 military contractors in the capital, on Sept. 16, was not an irreplaceable cog in the US military-industrial complex. Given his checkered record, Alexis ought to have been a liability to any organization.
Nevertheless, the former Navy reservist would have been coveted by military contractors for his prized possession: the secret military security clearance and common-access card (CAC), courtesy of the U.S. government.
Access is invaluable. If you’re cleared to work on military installations, you’re gold to contractors – who are themselves cogs in the corrupt military juggernaut.
A government grant of privilege, not his skills, turned a mass murderer in the making into an asset to The Experts Inc., for which Alexis worked.
Unburdened by brains, liberals are demanding to know “why was Alexis able to buy guns?” Again, ask the government. Gun sellers must use the FBI-run National Instant Criminal Background Check System for background checks on customers. Sharpshooters Small Arms Range, from which Alexis bought the Remington 870 shotgun used in the crime, was in compliance. The shop checked Alexis out with the feds. The government gave them the go-ahead.
Equally compromised, Republican Sen. Susan Collins was prompted to “question the kind of vetting contractors do.” Ask the government you serve, Susan, for it, not the contractors, conducts background checks.
And for government officials, no infraction committed by Alexis was too egregious to ignore.
Even stranger is the discrepancy between the killer’s performance during his Navy service and the glowing evaluations and awards he received from his superiors. If anything, top brass’s outsized ambition for Alexis incriminates them, not him.
“A valuable asset to the command” and to “any civilian organization.” In possession of “unlimited potential.” In the category of “must promote”: These are just some of the superlatives Alexis’ superiors deployed in plotting what was supposed to be his meteoric rise through the ranks.
All despite the fact that Alexis “had eight instances of misconduct in the Navy.” As reported by CNN’s Brian Todd, “Police records say he had three arrests between 2004 and 2010,” two for “gun-related offenses.” “A private firm does background checks on civilian contractors with the government’s Office of Personnel Management. OPM checks the information and then passes it on to the Department of Defense. There is one office in DOD that determines whether someone gets the kind of security clearance Alexis had.”
Aside from this office, Alexis would have been scrutinized by layers of military security; among these the Department of the Navy’s Central Adjudication Facility (DONCAF) and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).
Not only is it preposterous to float the idea that the point people at OPM, DOD, DONCAF or NCIS “dropped the ball” (as media are framing it) – the truth is almost entirely the opposite.
Intuitively, we all know why Alexis was being groomed for great things, despite grave lapses in judgment; why, he was praised in exuberant language and honorably discharged, in 2011, for dishonorable conduct. How elastic are military morals? No less an authority than the aforementioned rear admiral characterized Alexis’ indiscretions as “fairly mild,” while conceding that this was “no stellar sailor.”
The same military honor system worked wonders for Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the jihadi who committed fratricide at Fort Hood.
The military minded not a bit that Hasan breezed about the base in his jihadi jumpsuit. If anything, his superiors encouraged his “areas of interest” – proselytizing for Islam. Hasan’s devotional zeal Army psychiatrists dismissed as merely “different.” The same great military put a positive spin on the psychiatrist’s substandard professional performance and felt no qualms about unleashing him on vulnerable veterans. (A mother whose son was left to the mercies of the major attested that he was scary, inappropriate and without empathy.)
Like Aaron Alexis – who was allowed to retain a secret security clearance issued in 2007 and valid until 2017 – no amount of trouble Hasan got into undermined his own gold-embossed security clearance, employment status, rank and six-figure salary.
None of this should come as a surprise. The military is government. The military works like government; is financed like government and sports the same inherent malignancies and perverse incentives of government, down to the racial-spoils system.
Military top dogs and their loyal political lieutenants should have been tried with Nidal Malik Hasan, and they should stand in the dock for Aaron Alexis.